MailChimp Integration

  • 2
  • Article
  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)

About MailChimp

Mailchimp is an online email marketing solution that allows you to send marketing emails and targeted campaigns to you clients.  Not only does it get around the various problems that occur when trying to send out a large numbers of emails such as rate limiting and blocking by ISP’s, it also allows you to monitor metrics such as bounced and viewed emails in addition to click through rates.

Using MailChimp is ideal for sending your regular newsletters or practice updates and the best thing is that it is free for most practices with less than 2,000 subscribers and up to 12,000 emails per month.

Front Desk’s MailChimp integration allows you to upload your client list to MailChimp, and keep it in sync with changes to Front Desk patient files. Front Desk also allows you to produce subgroups of this list (called segments) by using the existing Front Desk reports. The topics on this page should be used in conjunction with MailChimp’s documentation.

The topics below assume you already have a MailChimp account, and some prior knowledge of MailChimp.

Create a list in MailChimp

To begin using MailChimp integration, you first need to have an active MailChimp account and create a ‘List’, which will be synced to Front Desk and contain your subscribers. This list can be managed from both Front Desk and MailChimp as it syncs in both directions.

Step 1

Log in to your MailChimp account, select Lists, and click the Create List button. Smartsoft recommends that you create a new list containing only your Front Desk client list.

Step 2

Enter the required details for your list, and click Save.

Step 3

Your MailChimp list is now ready for you to upload your client list.

Enable MailChimp integration and uploading your patients

With your ‘List’ created, you now need to link your Front Desk system to MailChimp, before uploading your patients as MailChimp ‘subscribers’.

Step 1

First you must obtain an API key from MailChimp. Go to your account details, select Extras, and API keys.

Step 2

If you don’t already have an API Key listed, click Create a Key. Otherwise, highlight and copy your API Key.

Step 3

In Front Desk, go to the MailChimp tab in System Information. Tick Enable MailChimp Integration and paste your MailChimp API Key. Then click Connect to MailChimp.

Step 4

If successful, the following message will be displayed.

Step 5

The details of your account will be displayed to you, along with your MailChimp lists. If you have not yet created a list, please do so now.

By default, archived patients will be excluded from the MailChimp sync, but if you want to include them, untick Exclude Archived Patients. Select your list, and click Sync.

Step 6

Click Yes to the confirmation message.

Step 7

If your client list is large, the upload progress will be displayed, which can be cancelled at any time. If you decide to cancel, the sync can be resumed later.

Step 8

Once complete, the results of the sync will be displayed. This lists successful additions, along with any errors that have occurred. Click Close.

Step 9

Your list Members should have been updated to reflect your new list size. The Last Sync date will also have been updated.

Resolving duplicate email addresses

MailChimp doesn’t allow more than one subscriber with the same email address, so before each MailChimp sync Front Desk will check your clients for duplicate email addresses. For each duplicate email address you must select a primary contact. The primary contact will be the one whose details are included in the MailChimp sync. These are the details that will be included in any MailChimp campaigns, should you choose to personalise them by using list fields / merge tags. For example, if you have several members of a family in your client list, all of whom share an email address, one of those people will need to be selected before they will be synced to MailChimp.

Step 1

After clicking Sync, or before adding patients to a segment, you may see the following message.

Step 2

You will be presented with a list of any patients with duplicate email addresses. For each one you can choose to do nothing (in which case they will not be uploaded to MailChimp), or select a primary contact.

Step 3

If you need to change the primary contact for a patient you can do this using the MailChimp button, situated next to the Email field on patient files which have a duplicate email address.

Note: patients who haven’t been chosen to be the primary contact for their email address can’t be unsubscribed from MailChimp. You must unsubscribe the primary contact. The MailChimp checkbox on these patients will be unavailable.


Patients can unsubscribe themselves from your MailChimp list by clicking the unsubscribe link in your email campaigns. Patients unsubscribed in this way cannot be subscribed again using Front Desk.

You can choose to unsubscribe a patient by unticking the MailChimp checkbox on the patient’s file. The patient will be removed from your MailChimp list at the next sync. At any time you can resubscribe the patient by ticking the MailChimp checkbox again.

Patients will be automatically unsubscribed from your list if they are deleted from Front Desk. They will also be unsubscribed if you archive them, and you have chosen to Exclude Archived Patients.

MailChimp is an online email marketing solution to manage contacts, send emails and track results.

Front Desk’s MailChimp integration allows you to upload your client list to MailChimp, and keep it in sync with changes to Front Desk patient files. Front Desk also allows you to produce subgroups of this list (called segments) by using the existing Front Desk reports. The topics on this page should be used in conjunction with MailChimp’s documentation.

The topics below assume you already have a MailChimp account, and some prior knowledge of MailChimp.


A segment is a subgroup of your patient list. Segments can be used to target a campaign at a particular section of your patients. Front Desk can create segments easily using many of the available reports – For example you could create a segment using the ‘Recall Patient List’ to target patients with an upcoming recall.

Step 1

Segments can be created and managed by clicking the MailChimp button on the Recall Patient List, Active / Inactive Patients report, Birthday List, Patient Referrals report, Patient List, and Events Report.

Step 2

If your list contains no segments you will be prompted to enter a New Segment Name.

Step 3

The MailChimp Segments window will be displayed. This contains all of your segments. The number of selected patients is displayed at the top.

Step 4

You can choose to add the selected patients to one of your current segments, or to create a New Segment. Highlight the segment you wish to use, and click Add to Segment. You will be asked to confirm before Front Desk continues.

Step 5

When complete, Front Desk will display the following message.

Step 6

If any errors occurred, which could happen if trying to add a patient who has been unsubscribed from your list, Front Desk will display a summary of the failed email addresses.

Step 7

You can also use the MailChimp Segments window to create a New Segment, Reset (remove all of the patients from) a segment, or Delete a segment.

Step 8

When creating your campaign on the MailChimp website, you can choose to send to any of the segments created through Front Desk.

Photo of Joshua

Joshua, Application Support

  • 6 Posts
  • 7 Reply Likes

Posted 5 years ago

  • 2
Photo of Emma Howard

Emma Howard

  • 1 Post
  • 2 Reply Likes
Thanks Joshua - Well written & most helpful - Emma - Equilibrium Health :)
Photo of Karl


  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Thanks Joshua. Do we need to actively sync the database manually every now and then, or does it just happen behind the scenes and updates the MailChimp list on a schedule? - Karl - Northern Spinal
Photo of Steven

Steven, Business Care

  • 268 Posts
  • 76 Reply Likes
Hi Karl

Front Desk will automatically sync with MailChimp every time you use the MailChimp button from a report in Front Desk to either create or update a segment (subset of your patients). 

If you are using MailChimp to email all of your clients (and not using the segment feature) you should first go to the MailChimp tab in System Information and use the Sync button to manually update your contact list. We have included this feature in the event that a user does not want to use segments, though in our experience segments help you reach your target market more effectively.